What Shall We Say?

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[ Put on Christ ] And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.


I write this from 33 thousand feet or so heading out for a family vacation. I needed to get away, that I knew – I just didn’t know how badly.

As I sit here, against the window with the shade drawn, I can feel the heat of the sun working on the plastic shade. It is warm and, if I were to leave my had on it for a prolonged period of time, I would assuredly come away from the experience with a nice red burn

It is striking to me that this is how God works in my life. As my mind clears of the mundane day to day, worldly concerns, God steps in and says, ” hey consider this. Go ahead, ask me the question that is really troubling you.”

It is like the heat coming through the window shade; once it has been noticed it can not be ignored.  With persistence it demands consideration. Further, If I ask the question, I know God will answer it and like the heat wafting off of my window shade, it might burn me. Yet, the Lord of the universe loves me. I am his child. For this reason I am not afraid. Scripture say that the Lord chastens whom He loves. So, if I am to be chastened then let it be with a holy fire that burns away all my inequity.

“Get on with it then,” I hear you say. “What is the question?”

Like most things, it is not simple; or perhaps it is and I, in my flesh am determined to make it difficult. The answer, I suppose will come at the due time. I do not wish to terry long so: as a Christian committed to preaching the gospel, how much of the world system am I to avail myself of? How involved am I to be? At what point does my involvement in discussions revolving around the politics of the day take the focus from Jesus and put it on me and my opinion or the world at large? There it is and no matter the answer God provides I will obey.

Romans chapter 13 tells us to put on Christ – our salvation is nearer then when we first believed. It also tells us to wake up. I have written at length about walking in the spirit; being led by Christ in humility.

[ Take Up the Cross and Follow Him ] Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

It is in this spirit that I went to Romans 13 for the answer. The 13th chapter of Romans tells us to submit to government.

[ Submit to Government ] Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
This is a hard truth for me and, I daresay for others as well. Our leaders were appointed by God. There is no questioning this point. I know it is God’s word but it is difficult to accept. Why? Because that means  even the  leaders  we disagree with have been given authority by God. Therefore, we must obey; Taking comfort in the truth that God is in control of His creation.So why the bad leaders? Why is it that God allows poor leadership and are we as Christians to speak out against it. Take into consideration the coronation of Sal. David was to be king. The man after God’s own heart was anointed in I Samuel 16. That was God’s plan However, in chapter 12 God gives the people what they want ahead of schedule. In their impatience, they clamored for a king and God heard them. And, it came with a warning.

1 Samuel 12:13-15 

1.3 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

There is much to consider here. First Samuel tells the people, ” Here is the king you have chosen.”

The imprecation is God didn’t choose Sal, the people did. The nation is outside the will or God and that is a dangerous place to be. Take note however, at the end of verse 13, God blesses the choice as He does so many times with us; not because we’re good but because He is.: “The Lord has Set a king over you.” This is not to be missed, the Lord did it not the people. He listened and gave the what they wanted even though it was outside His plan. The admonishment that comes next is not to obey the king first but to obey the Lord in all things. Samuel tells us, if we do that all will be well for us and the king. If we don’t the hand of the Lord will be against us. That is a strong word.

I believe it is a word for us today in this season of over the top politics and division as hasn’t been seen in a generation, obey the Lord first. Measure all things with the measuring stick of God’s word. If it doesn’t measure up then say so, without fear.

Expect Godly leadership and when there is none, pray for the leader and vote your values. In short, do all things as unto the Lord. As you can tell, I found my answer. Trust God, follow Him and speak the truth. Fear God not man.

Grace & Peace,



Where We Came From

1 Samuel 7:12 [Full Chapter]

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
My church family celebrated an amazing, God given milestone last week.. After service, I was standing with a brother talking about the providence of God and what a blessing our church family is. Soon, as is often the case when discussing the things of God, our conversation turned to scripture and, in this case, Ebenezer Stones.
No, I’m not talking about a stone in memory of Scrooge. I am referring to a place marker; a remembrance of where we have been, of where we come from. In this case, Samuel was marking Gods providence in the life of the nation of Israel, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
We have examples throughout scripture of Ebenezer stones, place markers being laid in reverence and praise to God’s sovereignty and providence in the lives of believers. We all have Ebenezer stones in our lives and I would wager that, after some thought you could come up several.
It is interesting that before they were named Ebeneezer, God’s children, on many occasions set up memorial place markers. After all of the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan, the Lord commanded His children:

Joshua 4:1-4 New King James Version the (NKJV)

The Memorial Stones

And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them,  it took to get us here saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”

Just as it was important for the children of Israel to set up remembrance points during their walk with the Lord; it is important for us to do the same. We must remember where we came from and whom it took to get us here. The profit Samuel said it, ” Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

The Ebenezer stones can be any thing that serves as a reminder of the past, of the times that God was there to carry you through. It doesn’t need to be a reminder of a dark time, but it can be. Here are some examples to get you thinking about the Ebenezer Stones in your own life. Prior to moving into our current building, my church met in a school. During service, the congregation sat on the hard plastic chairs found in most public school lunch rooms. In our sanctuary today, interspersed throughout the room which is filled with comfortable chairs, are a few of the hard plastic ones from the school. These are reminders, memory stones, Ebenezers. They bring to remembrance where we came from as a church and bring glory to God.

I have Ebenezers of my own: a beat up motorcycle jacket, a hospital bracelet, a bible that was given to me in 1983 by my uncle, and a hand written, speech that I delivered before three congregations after a mission trip to Mexico in 1985. All of these items bring back memories forms specific times in my life. Each one reminds me of a time when God was with me in a tangible way.

The Ebenezer stones in your live are place markers. They bring back to remembrance your testimony. It is through your testimony that you connect with God and further, connect others to Him. There is power in your story.

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
What are your Ebenezers? If you haven’t thought about it in a while or if it never occurred to you at all; I encourage you to give it some thought. Prayerfully consider your testimony and reflect on your journey. It will encourage you as you walk forward in the spirit to know where you came from and who it ws that got you here.
I would also encourage you to share your story. No matter what it is. If you were blessed to be brought up in a Godly home, share it! There is the power of God in it. If not, or if you walked away as I did, share it being careful not to revel in the, ” Good ol’ days.” Because they weren’t good. They represented a time when you were dead in sin. The good old days started when God through His mercy and grace delivered you from death by the blood of Jesus Christ.
I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Grace and Peace,



Questioning God

Isaiah 55:8-9 [Full Chapter]

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
It is a question that goes back as far as time itself. If God loves us so much, why does he allow bad things to happen to us? Why is there such dysfunction in the world? It is a question that has derailed many believers who sadly never came back to the truth. Bad things happen to good people in this world and we ask why God? Why?
In examining why good people suffer, which is the core of the why, question we must remember that this broken world and the sin that it pervades it is no respecter of persons.
that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
In short, the reason bad things happen is sin. The world is broken, damaged and sinful. Because of this darkness, bad things happen. Unfortunately there is no protection for us from the bad things in this world. Sin is here therefor darkness is here ergo bad things happen to all people.
There is no sadder place to be then a funeral for a nonbeliever. The funeral consist of songs and remembrances, it is often times not held in a church but in a funeral home. There are vague references to the after life and how whom ever it is is living it up with the man upstairs. When you look into the faces of those who knew the deceased; family members, close friends and the like, the depth of sadness, of finality is overwhelming. The reason is simple. The nonbeliever has no hope. It has been said that Human beings can live for forty days without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope.
A Christian has hope; the hope of eternity with Christ as well as the knowledge that God is always with us.

Isaiah 41:10 [Full Chapter]

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 I can hear some of you now, “that’s all well and good,” you say. ” But why doesn’t God just wipe sin out? After all, if sin is the issue and God is all powerful; then why not wipe it out?”
The short answer is: wiping sin out means wiping us out. After disobeyed God (Genesis 3) Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden and sent out into the world. They had been separated from God by their sin, they were sinners. Because 0f this, every child they bore was born in sin, an imperfect being separated from God.

Genesis 4 [Full Chapter]

[ Cain Murders Abel ] Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.
 It is clear that our nature is sinful. Paul says in Romans 5:8 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If that isn’t humbling enough; the thought that all by ourselves we are a train wreck we do have the devil to consider.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
In the final analysis, the world is a dark, dismal, and sometimes scary place.However, as I said earlier, Christians have hope. We have hope because rather than wipe us out God sent His only Son to wipe out sin. Jesus Christ hung on a cross and paid the price that was ours to bear. His blood, sinless blood was shed not as a covering for sin but as a cleansing  – one time for all time.
Isaiah 1:18 [Full Chapter]

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
While it is true that bad things still happen to good people, believers have a companion who knows what it is to suffer, to be alone, and to be forsaken. It has been said before and I will echo it here, ” I would rather go through a storm with Jesus then go through life without Him.”
God is in charge and He has a plan for each of us. We are His children and He loves us with a love that we cannot comprehend. His is in charge and He will never leave you.

Romans 8:28 [Full Chapter]

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Grace & Peace,